In Wilkes-Barre, The Monument is Gone, But Criticism Remains

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- The monument may be gone, but questions remain after Wilkes-Barre's mayor had a beehive monument taken down.

It comes after controversy over a brick purchased by a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan.

"Let the hoods come off the KKK. If you're going to put a plaque up, identify yourselves. Where you're from. Where you live, who you are, who you associate with on social media," said Harry Hamilton of Wilkes-Barre.

Hamilton was among those at a city council meeting Thursday night who talked about the controversy.

Gene Stilp was there as well.

He was recently arrested and charged after he tried to chisel the offending brick out, then cover it up.

"They have to start a plan for what they do with monuments in the future, they have to have rules that govern what happens because right now there are real guidelines, they have to set up some guidelines," said Stilp.

The monument stood in Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre for more than a decade.

The mayor said the recent controversy played a role in his decision to remove it, but he said it would have come down anyway because of renovations to the square.

There are some, however, who say the monument should have stayed, including people hose bricks dedicated to their businesses, organizations, even loved ones.

A city administrator said those people should contact the city about perhaps getting their bricks back.

"People have different views about that when we have plaques that target toward different groups, I mean...I have different views about it," said Warren Daniels of Plymouth who works in Wilkes-Barre.

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